Are Blu-ray's Days Numbered? The Half Life of AV Disc Theory

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New audio-video formats have a definite lifespan and that lifespan is getting increasingly short as "convergence" becomes more and more of a factor in consumer electronics. As Dr. Ken Taraszka pointed out in his January 2009 look at the current state of high-definition adult home video content, pornographers, who without an argument have shaped the rise of VHS and DVD-Video, are starting to look past Blu-ray towards various levels of HD video downloads via the Internet. Netflix is offering downloads to "future-proof" their booming business model for a day with no discs. Apple's iTunes is selling movies by the millions and delivering them not just to iPods, but also to iPhonesand Apple TVs and then networking them wirelessly around the home.

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It's looking more and more like the commercial viability of the disc is coming to an end sometime soon. The commercial viability of music on vinyl records lasted conservatively from the 1950s to the advent of the compact disc, easily 40-plus years. The cassette tape was a musical market force from the 1960s through the late 1980s, lasting about 30 years, if not a little longer. VHS, after its hard-to-forget victory over Beta, launched the home theater market and lasted from the late 1970s until the advent of DVD-Video nearly 20 years later. The compact disc's rise to stardom was nothing short of miraculous. However, its commercial viability lasted about 25 years, despite the fact that the four major labels still amazingly push the low-res CD as their best-quality musical offering for current and back catalog offerings. DVD-Video took the baton from VHS and for a solid 10 years helped make home theater score much better-looking video and increasingly high-definition surround sound tracks. Even the sometimes overlooked laserdisc had a solid 10-year run with home theater enthusiasts.
Don't get me started on SACD and DVD-Audio, as it can be argued that they were never commercially viable - thank you very much, record labels. Over time, the lifespan of an AV format has roughly halved itself since the 1950s, leaving HD and home theater enthusiasts wondering what's in store for the industry-leading Blu-ray format. With Blu-ray having won the nasty format war with the Toshiba/Microsoft-backed HD DVD, there seems to be one more disc format left for consumers to embrace, for good reason. 1080p video trounces anything that a 480i resolution DVD-Video disc can offer, even to the untrained eye or mainstream consumer at Wal-Mart or Costco. DTS Master Audio and Dolby True HD surround formats are easily superior and noticeably better than anything found on DVD-Video, and Blu-ray is gaining market prominence, thanks to power-packed titles like The Dark Knight and Iron Man. 
Read more about Blu-ray's endangered future on Page 2.

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